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The "System" Shows Itself in an Innocent Sport

I was being foolishly optimistic on a mountain bike ride on the west side of Colorado's San Luis valley, by giving the benefit of the doubt to a trail that was likely to be too rough.

At one point we saw a fellow standing and looking at something, as if he were earnestly studying it.  He said he crashed on his bike at that spot, a couple years ago, and had broken a couple ribs. And today, he was out to even the score with this rocky obstacle. He enlisted my help in standing on one side of the rock, with the intention of preventing his fall and crash, this year.

His second weapon was a new mountain bike. It looked like it cost over $5000. He succeeded quite easily this year. If fact he did it twice.

I kept my mouth shut, that is, I resisted the urge to remonstrate against his foolhardiness.  This man in his sixties had a right to risk his own neck and wallet as he saw fit, without any criticism from me.

What interests me is whether it really was his idea. The American mountain biking industry can't compete with Asia on the basis of 'bang for the buck,' so it must encourage extreme trails, constant innovation in the design of the bike, and high prices, now enabled by financialization. (Bike shops now offer financing for their unbelievably over-priced bikes.)

The message comes through to the average consumer via advertisements, discussion forums on the internet, sponsored racing teams, television shows with guys on mountain bikes flipping over in mid-air, and old fashioned glossy magazines. 

And there are brown stakes on the trail and area, showing that it bears the imprimatur of government. 

So there you have it: the innocent sport of mountain biking is really just another manifestation of the unholy alliance of Corporations, Media and advertising, Financialization, and Government. Would any of these institutions care about your broken neck on your mountain bike ride? But the average peasant is OK with that. 

What if it isn't OK with you? What gives you the effrontery to have your own opinion? Are you smarter than the experts? Maybe you are just a crank, a troublemaker, a negative thinker.


West side of the San Luis valley, in Colorado.
Another possibility is that you are a cultural survivor from a long dead age. Currently I am reading Herbert Spencer's "Autobiography" from He explained the tradition of his recent ancestors, especially his father. They were independent thinkers. They didn't believe things merely because an Authority said so. Spencer saw the connection between these "personal" traits and the longer tradition of his ancestors being Wesleyans.
The nonconforming tendency—the lack of regard for certain of the established authorities, and readiness to dissent from accepted opinions—of course characterized, in considerable degrees, the earliest of Wesley’s followers;
What gave those early Protestants the sheer pride, self-assertiveness, and courage to take on the "Establishment?" They had an "ally," their belief in a Higher Authority, i.e., the Bible and God. They also had a grip on the high moral ground, as shown by their austerity and earnestness. They also got together with similarly-minded individuals every Sunday.

That was then. Today, when we confront the mindf*#k of the Establishment, we have only ourselves, as a puny weak individual, trying to stand up to a world that makes no sense to us


  1. You probably know about the problems that off-griders are having in the San Luis Valley. They are people with the same mind set as Spencer and the Establishment can not abide having them living 'their way'. If you were not aware then this blog posting is informative.

    1. A local told me that San Luis county was the second poorest county in Colorado.

    2. The early Protestants may have been prideful, self-assertive, courageous, etc., but their interpretation of the Bible and God unfortunately taught them to discriminate against Catholics, Jews and women. Gathering with similarly minded individuals only reinforced their distasteful beliefs.



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